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Putin sends message to Brazil after death of Pele

The Russian leader noted he was fortunate enough to meet the football icon in person

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the “unique” talent of Pele as he shared a message of condolence with the Brazilian people following the death of the football icon.

Pele died at the age of 82 in Sao Paulo on Thursday after a battle with colon cancer.

The passing of the three-time World Cup winner has prompted an outpouring of grief in Brazil and far beyond.

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Putin joined in expressing his sadness on behalf of the Russian people in a message addressed to outgoing Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro and shared on the Kremlin website.

“Please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of the great Brazilian football player Pele,” read the message to Bolsonaro, who will be replaced as president on Sunday by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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“Edson Arantes do Nascimento was an outstanding son of the Brazilian people. Thanks to his talent, unique skill, [and] beautiful, fascinating game, football became a favorite sport for millions of people around the world, including in Russia,” added Putin.

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“I was lucky to personally communicate with this wonderful person, and I will forever keep the brightest memories of him. 

“Please convey words of sincere sympathy to the family and friends of the legendary Pele, as well as to all citizens of your country.”

Putin and Pele were seen meeting at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, sharing a warm handshake in the stands at a match in St. Petersburg. 

The pair were also pictured meeting at the draw for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, which took place at the Kremlin in December of 2017.

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On that occasion, they were joined by Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona, who passed away aged 60 in 2020.


READ MORE: Pele: From humble beginnings to football’s first global superstar

Brazil has declared three days of mourning following Pele’s death.

Mourners will have a chance to pay their respects when his coffin is placed in the center of the pitch at the home stadium of Brazilian team Santos – where he spent the majority of his career – on Monday and Tuesday.

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After that, Pele’s coffin will be transported through the streets before he is laid to rest in a private ceremony at the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica in Santos.

December 30, 2022 at 04:56PM
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